In February, 1975, in Northern Ireland, seventeen year-old UVF member Alistair Little kills the catholic Jimmy Griffin in his house in Lurgan in front of his younger brother Joe Griffin. Alistair is arrested and imprisoned for twelve years while Joe is blamed by his mother for not saving his brother. Thirty-three years later, a TV promotes the meeting of Alistair and Joe in a house in River Finn, expecting the truth and the reconciliation of the murderer and the victim who actually seeks five minutes of heaven.Written by
Claudio Carvalho, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Liam Neeson was raised a Catholic and portrays a Protestant. James Nesbitt was raised a Protestant and portrays a Catholic. See more »
In the scene where Alistair (as a teenager) is rummaging through the box under his bed, he extracts a knitted stuffed animal and places it beside the box with the head facing away from him. When he pulls out the gun, the stuffed animal is now lying with its head closest to him. See more »
Young Alistair - 1975:
For me to talk about the man I have become, you need to know about the man I was. I was 14 when I joined the Tartan gangs, and I was 15 when I joined the UVF, the Ulster Volunteer Force. At that time, don't forget, there were riots on the streets every week; petrol bombs everyday, and that was just in our town. When you got home and switched on the TV, you could see what was happening in every other town as well, and it was like we were under siege. Fathers and brothers ...
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Tonight I saw one of the best films I've seen in years. You might have to search for this one to find it, because it's probably not going to show up in your local multiplex, but if you can find it, you're in for a moving experience.
"Five Minutes Of Heaven" won the Directing award for Oliver Hirschbiegel and the World Cinema Screen writing Award for Guy Hibbert at the most recent Sundance Film Festival, and was nominated for the Grand Jury Prize. That, and the fact that Liam Neeson is in it, were the reasons I decided to watch it. I didn't even know what it was about.
It's about violence, and how violence shatters lives, and about how the shattering does not stop when the violence stops. Set in Northern Ireland, it is nothing more, nor less, than the meeting, 25 years later, between the man (Neeson) who in his youth murdered a Catholic for nothing more than being Catholic, and the murdered man's brother (portrayed so powerfully as to bring the audience I saw it with to tears more than once by James Nesbitt). As a child, he watched his brother murdered, and then was blamed by his own mother for killing him because he did nothing to stop it. He was nine.
Both men are shattered, 25 years later. One is seeking redemption and resolution by meeting the brother of the man he killed, and the other is seeking only revenge. I cannot spoil the film for anyone by saying more. All I can say is that this film would bring the Dalai Lama to tears, or Yasser Arafat. It's that powerful, and that well done.
This is the film that young people whose culture is pushing them into terrorism should be shown, before it's too late for them. And this is the film that those who feel no compassion for the terrorists should be shown, before it's too late for them, too.
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